Book review: The Urn Carrier, by Chris Convissor

Convissor, Chris. The Urn Carrier. Bedazzles Ink Publishing, 2016. paperback. 242p. $11.95. ISBN: 978-1-943837-38-0

A mystery, a road trip, and a romance, the story of 19-year-old Tessa’s summer will appeal to many different teenage and adult readers. When Great Aunt Sadie’s will is read, inheritance is contingent on a family member leaving some of her ashes at various sites across America that she loved. Tessa’s unpleasant relatives all have excuses, so it is up to her.

Fortunately, a marvelously outfitted camper and Murphy, a very perceptive dog, have been left by Aunt Sadie for the journey. As Tessa travels, she discovers surprises about her great aunt’s life and loves, and her own. Part of the trip is shared with her girlfriend Dina who, with an ill-considered remark, reveals that Tessa is transgender. (The advanced reading copy treats this fact as a “spoiler” and asks reviewers not to mention it.)

Tessa’s Indian ancestry influences the ceremony she performs at each place where she scatters a bit of Sadie’s ashes. The demands of the journey build Tessa’s self-confidence and maturity which brings changes to her relationships with others. By the end, she is finally ready to face the family secrets that she suppressed. The road trip for family secrets aspect of the story reminded me of Jonathan Friesen’s Jerk, California, though that novel had no LGBT content.

Reviewed by: Carolyn Caywood,
retired from Virginia Beach Public Library

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